Day 3: Chicago – The Musical

Sunday. Woke up at 7am and continued reading “The Fault in Our Stars” until I realized my eyes would be puffy all day if I continued down this path. Was extremely thankful that Jen’s room had a box of tissues in it. Had started reading TFIOS on the plane on the way to Chicago, but had passed out midway through the flight. With 100 pages left, I put it down at 10am, and got ready.

Jen asks me what I want to do today, but for the most part I’m not sure. I kind of want to check out the Skydeck and the Field Museum, since we didn’t get a chance to the day before and they are the things that all people do when in Chicago.

We borrow the family car to get to the train station and head to Willis Tower, this time the line is 3 hours long. Dangnabit. I don’t want to wait three hours in line and suck up all of our day. Take a quick snap of the globe outside of Willis Tower before deciding instead to head over to the Field Museum for take two on seeing Sue the T-Rex.

Globe @ Willis Tower

Globe @ Willis Tower

On our way there, I can’t wait to eat something delectable because I’m so hungry that I can’t think straight. I spot Potbelly Sandwich Works and Jen humors me in going there, even though it’s a chain. Am slowly turning into my mom where I can no longer wait to eat, and the thought horrifies me.

The sandwich shop looks to me most like a Noah’s Bagels. I pull out my iPhone to look up the chain, and feel relieved to see that it was a Chicago based institution that started out of selling sandwiches from an antique store. I end up ordering A Wreck because it sounds dreamy and it is (Salami, Angus Roast Beef, Turkey, Ham and Swiss cheese are hand-sliced and layered for a delicious disarray of flavors).

After lunch we wander the Field Museum, and say hi to Sue. Fun Fact: Sue’s head is so heavy that a replica is put on display attached to the body, while the real head is upstairs under the semi-circle mural of Sue.

Hi Sue, you got a big head.

Hi Sue, you got a big head.

We get lost amidst taxidermy in the dark and ominous endangered species area, which we agree is kind of creepy. We move on to look into Grainger Hall of Gems, whereby looking at the priceless shiny baubles of the jewelry collection helps perk up our spirits. We can immediately can distinguish all items from Tiffany’s.

After this we head by way of train to last item on my short hitlist of Chicago activities. The Sprinkles Cupcake ATM! You heard that right, an ATM that distributes cupcakes! A couple days before we had taken off, I had seen this posted on Stephen’s instagram and had texted Jen, our intelligent conversation went as follows:

Me: Can we visit this?
Me: Forget the bean, it’s a fucking cupcake machine! Lololol.
Jen: LOLOLOL yeah, I’ll find out where it is!
Me: Lololol priorities.

The infamous cupcake ATM at Sprinkles! Technology used only for the best purposes.

The infamous cupcake ATM at Sprinkles! Technology used only for the best purposes.

When we arrive the line is out the door, and low and behold the Cupcake ATM is out of order! Damn you Chicago, won’t you let me have anything the first time?!?! After leaving sans cupcake I drag Jen into Madewell to look for a pair of shoes I’ve been coveting, but alas they no longer have them in stock. Taking a look at the clock and it’s about 5pm and time to head home as Jen’s family is having homemade korean bbq for dinner. My belly is excited.

When we get back home and head to the backyard there are three tabletop gas burners set up. Surrounding them are plates of homemade banchan. In the cooler there is Smirnoff Cider, (we saw a bulletin board for this in the city earlier in the day and wanted to try it so Jason had grabbed it for us), water, and beer. Then out came the shot glasses for soju. Finally a box of whiskey rounded out the bevy of beverages.

As the fatty pork and beef were sizzling on the burners, happiness kicked in since I managed to have the cider as well as a shot of soju before settling down with some whiskey. Once food was ready, Jen’s family consistently offer me lots of delicious meats. Who am I to deny gracious hospitality? I dug in.

Jen mentions later that she had previously told her parents I was fatty pork monster. Ah to be known to Jen’s parents as the crazy girl who talks to walls and is the monster that devours all pork products. Making great first impressions is my specialty, but I guess things could be worse.

I sit immobile for a while soaking the scene in. Family. Laughing. Play. This is the modern “Parenthood” like family. Something I’m entirely unfamiliar with, and it’s really nice. Also with my 4th drink, I’m getting pretty tipsy, so sitting is my best option.

We end up playing bocce ball in the backyard, and I end up joining the Lee family, as the other families all have a team of 4. The Lee family rocks it to the championship, and then high fives go up all around.

After the families clean up and either head home or go inside to rest, Jen, Jason and I remain in the backyard when Jason suggests we play what I now coin DJ Nostalgia.

Jason said something like, “Let’s play nostalgic music.” Jen and I look at each other and immediately give him crazy eye before he sets his phone into a styrofoam cup and starts playing something by Michael Jackson. We catch on.


DJ Nostalgia – Trying to trump each other with oldies (songs from our formidable teen years) that everyone knows and loves.

crazy eye – When someone has said something you’re completely confused by or you think is crazy.

On my set list:

  • Snoop Dog – B*tch Please
  • Ace of Base – Beautiful Life
  • Brian McKnight – Back at One
  • Janet Jackson – All 4 U
  • Kumbia Kings – Say It
  • Lauryn Hill – Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
  • Linda Rondstat – Somewhere Out There
  • Mariah Carey – Thank God I Found You
  • Outkast – Ms Jackson
  • Tevin Campbell – I’m Ready

We laughed and reminisced while burning bug repellant incense till 10:30pm whereby we were ready to head in for the night.

If the theme for New York was all about wearing masks, I have to say the theme for Chicago was all about the music. From being serenaded Let It Go, to the designated performance stations in the Subways, to the street performers near Willis Tower, the random dudes rapping on a train and as we were going up the escalators from the subway, ending with a trip down memory lane with DJ Nostalgia. There was never a point where I didn’t have a song in my head, and that was wonderful.

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